Waymo drops the term 'self-driving' for 'fully autonomous,' points finger at Tesla

midian182

Posts: 6,677   +59
Staff member
A hot potato: Most people associate Waymo with 'self-driving' technology, but the company is dropping that term, and it's pointing a not-too-subtle finger at Tesla as part of the reason. Its vehicles will now be referred to as 'fully autonomous.'

There have long been arguments over whether vehicles should be classified as self-driving, mostly because the technology is closer to driver assistance features that require regular intervention from humans. Waymo believes the label gives consumers a false impression of cars' capabilities, making it misleading at best and dangerous at worst.

"It may seem like a small change, but it's an important one, because precision in language matters and could save lives," the company wrote. "We're hopeful that consistency will help differentiate the fully autonomous technology Waymo is developing from driver-assist technologies (sometimes erroneously referred to as 'self-driving' technologies) that require oversight from licensed human drivers for safe operation."

While Waymo doesn't mention its rival specifically in the post, it appears that Tesla is the target here: "Unfortunately, we see that some automakers use the term 'self-driving' in an inaccurate way, giving consumers and the general public a false impression of the capabilities of driver assist (not fully autonomous) technology. That false impression can lead someone to unknowingly take risks (like taking their hands off the steering wheel) that could jeopardize not only their own safety but the safety of people around them."

Tesla does tell owners to keep their hands on the wheel when the company's Autopilot is enabled, but there have still been incidents, some fatal, in which the feature was engaged. Alphabet subsidiary Waymo's biggest objection is likely Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature that rolled out to some users in beta last October.

Tesla repeated its "keep your hands on the wheel" rule for the feature, and FSD is supposed to be used on local, non-highway streets, but we've already seen a video of someone using it to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles with no human intervention.

There have been plenty of negative reviews of FSD, with some users complaining of Teslas going through red lights and almost rear-ending a parked car.

Musk recently said that FSD would "work at a safety level well above that of the average driver this year," so don't expect any name changes on its part.

Permalink to story.

 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,497   +5,102
They changed a clear lie about self-driving, to an obscured lie, about being fully autonomous, whereas they are as far from being fully autonomous as they are from being self-driving.

This will save lives? Please! This will save you from a potential class-action suit, selling self-driving cars that in fact cannot drive themselves safely, so they are just saving their a$$, as usual.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Companies that make false claims that are verified by accidents and/or fatalities should be heavily fined and their leadership should face legal consequences, no matter their wealth, position or intent. It is intentional deception for the purpose of profits.

I have no doubt a fully autonomous vehicle is on the horizon and there are a few that already meet all the criteria, but continue to be tested in an attempt to resolve those few outstanding incidents. This is one of those situations where having a "universal database" of criteria & solutions should be required so all benefit from the findings. "Safety" should never be proprietary, no matter who, what, or when it is applied.
 

SirDigby

Posts: 789   +588
As someone who's eyesight is too poor to be able to drive, I just really really really really want self-driving cars to hurry up.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,142   +1,276
TechSpot Elite
This makes absolutely no sense. What exactly is supposed to be the difference between "Self-Driving" and "Fully Autonomous" except for spelling and pronunciation? If anything, "Fully Autonomous" is even worse because it gives the impression that the car can do things on its own even when empty.

The person at Waymo who came up with this is demonstrating a severe linguistic deficiency.
 

SirDigby

Posts: 789   +588
This makes absolutely no sense. What exactly is supposed to be the difference between "Self-Driving" and "Fully Autonomous" except for spelling and pronunciation? If anything, "Fully Autonomous" is even worse because it gives the impression that the car can do things on its own even when empty.

The person at Waymo who came up with this is demonstrating a severe linguistic deficiency.
I was thinking this too, if I described myself as having autonomy at work, and self-managed, they're pretty much the same thing, I still have a performance review, but I manage myself, my own time and how I do things.
 

Sedziwoj

Posts: 24   +13
Author on Techspot should know that Beta is not final product, and it not representing final quality, and if put any time in progress of this beta program, he would know, that this beta is true beta, and changes are big with each update. So Waymo is only taking headlines, because what is doing, is as Tesla would say that Waymo with beta faze have drivers, so what autonomy it is? So be more objective, and not fallow one company, because author is preferring it.
PS if Tesla would launch FSD in this form as it is, yes, this would be misleading naming.
PPS some people forgetting what autopilot in aviation mean, and that this name was use only there, so wrong perception, do not mean word is incorrect. As card have name Red Dragon, but don't have it inside, so they should change name, because some may think it have dragon inside?
 

Sedziwoj

Posts: 24   +13
Companies that make false claims that are verified by accidents and/or fatalities should be heavily fined and their leadership should face legal consequences, no matter their wealth, position or intent. It is intentional deception for the purpose of profits.

I have no doubt a fully autonomous vehicle is on the horizon and there are a few that already meet all the criteria, but continue to be tested in an attempt to resolve those few outstanding incidents. This is one of those situations where having a "universal database" of criteria & solutions should be required so all benefit from the findings. "Safety" should never be proprietary, no matter who, what, or when it is applied.
If you don't know, learn. Tesla FSD is in beta, only people which sign agreement with Tesla may use it, same as test drivers for Waymo or Uber, they (drivers) are still responsible for safety.
This faze is required for all autonomy system, so catch all edge cases, so for know Tesla is doing as Waymo or Uber and others, testing with selected contracted people.
About "universal database" it is impossible, because all solutions base on DNN (AI) and rules are not written by hand. It is as you would like take knowledge of one person to other, they must learn it by themselves.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
If you don't know, learn. Tesla FSD is in beta, only people which sign agreement with Tesla may use it, same as test drivers for Waymo or Uber, they (drivers) are still responsible for safety.
This faze is required for all autonomy system, so catch all edge cases, so for know Tesla is doing as Waymo or Uber and others, testing with selected contracted people.
About "universal database" it is impossible, because all solutions base on DNN (AI) and rules are not written by hand. It is as you would like take knowledge of one person to other, they must learn it by themselves.

You entirely missed the point .... a flaw in your own learning .....